The middle child started modeling as a pre-teen, but he switched gears and determined he wanted to act at age 17. Once he chose his path it wasn’t long before he landed some guest-star spots on Now and Again and The Big Easy before nabbing a gig on the short-lived Dawson’s Creek spinoff Young Americans.
However, Somerhalder’s big break came when he played Boone Carlyle on Lost in 2004. The mega-hit was massively popular, scoring him roles on Smallville and Tell Me You Love Me. However, he cemented his heartthrob status when he joined The Vampire Diaries as Damon Salvatore, the vampire he portrayed from 2009 to 2017. He returned to the gothic genre with Netflix’s V Wars in 2019.
Outside of acting, Somerhalder and his onscreen bro Paul Wesley founded Brother’s Bond Bourbon, a nod to their TVD characters, in 2021. The Louisiana native is also an animal and climate activist. He launched the Ian Somerhalder Foundation in 2010 to “positively impact the planet.”
Somerhalder was romantically linked to Maggie Grace, who played his sister on Lost, from 2004 to 2007. He later dated his Vampire Diaries costar Nina Dobrev from 2010 to 2013. He then moved on with Nikki Reed the following year, and the two tied the knot in 2015. Reed gave birth to their daughter, Bodhi, in July 2017.